Assault on naval officer brings Haji Selim’s son Erfan's downfall

  • Kamal Hossain Talukder, Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-10-27 04:01:41 BdST

bdnews24

The assault on a naval officer has proved to be the undoing of Erfan Selim, son of lawmaker Haji Mohammad Selim, with the authorities lifting the lid on his series ot misdeeds in the wake of his arrest.

A Rapid Action Battalion mobile court has since sentenced Erfan, himself a public representative, to a year in jail.

The second son of Haji Selim, Erfan is also the son-in-law of Ekramul Karim Chowdhury, a lawmaker from Noakhali. After completing his studies abroad, he joined his father's company Medina Group as a director.

Erfan is the incumbent councillor of Dhaka South's ward No. 30, comprising Old Dhaka's Soari Ghat, Mitford Road and its surrounding areas.

He came in the crosshairs of law enforcement after being charged in a case over the attack on the naval officer.

Hours after Lt Md Wasif Ahmed Khan started the case against Erfan and six others with Dhanmondi Police on Monday, RAB swooped on Haji Selim's house in Soari Ghat's Devdas Lane.

Erfan's residence covers the third and fourth floors of the nine-storey building. The elite police unit seized two unlicensed firearms, a round of ammunition and an airgun. They also confiscated 37 walkie-talkies, a handcuff, and bottles of liquor.

"The firearms are unlicensed. The walkie-talkies are illegal as well since only law enforcers are allowed to use these black wireless devices," RAB's Executive Magistrate Sarwoer Alam said after the raid.

The law-enforcing agency detained Erfan and his bodyguard Mohammed Zahid before a mobile court sentenced the duo to a year in jail for the unlawful possession of the walkie-talkies and liquor.

RAB spokesperson Ashik Billah said the authorities are also preparing to charge them in two cases under the firearms and narcotics law.

Later in the evening, Erfan and his bodyguard were taken to the RAB-3 office in Tikatuli. He was under interrogation as at 1am.

'TORTURE CHAMBER'

During the raid on Erfan's home in Devdas Lane, RAB uncovered his 'torture room' on the roof of a multi-storey building in Chawkbazar.

Based on the information divulged by Erfan, RAB raided the room on the roof of the 16-storey Ashik Tower, where they found hockey sticks, handcuffs, knives, thick ropes, electric wires along with equipment used to consume yaba tablets, according to Sarwoer.

"Erfan used to bring different people here and torture them."

On a visit to Ashik Tower, it was found that the building houses the office of Madina Developments Ltd on 16th floor.

Meanwhile, RAB personnel were listing the various 'torture' weapons and equipment in a large room in a corner of the roof.

The room was equipped with computer monitors and sofas, with badminton court on one side.

HOW IT ALL STARTED

On Oct 25, a group of men got off Haji Selim's car, which had a member of parliament sticker, and beat up a naval officer Lt Md Wasif near the Labaid Hospital in Dhanmondi.

Wasif subsequently started a case with Dhanmondi Police against Erfan, Haji Selim's protocol officer AB Siddique Dipu, Erfan's bodyguard Zahid and driver Mizanur Rahman along with three unnamed suspects.

They are charged with beating, injuring and threatening to kill a government official after illegally blocking a road.

Wasif, who alleged that he and his wife received death threats, was travelling to Kalabagan with his wife on a motorcycle when a black Land Rover hit the bike from behind, according to case details.

Wasif subsequently managed to regain control of his vehicle after the hit.

As soon as Wasif and his wife got off their bike, a group of men from the car started verbally abusing and beating him.

A video of the incident went viral on social media. Wasif said he and his wife came under attack even after revealing his identity to the attackers.

HAJI SELIM, WIFE NOT AT HOME

During the raid, Lt Col Ashik Billah, director of RAB's law and media wing, informed reporters about the arrest of Irfan and his bodyguard along with the confiscation of the firearms, liquor, walkie-talkies and handcuffs.

Asked about the whereabouts of Haji Selim, he said, "Haji Selim isn't home. We came to know that he and his wife went to the doctor's before the raid started."

But the RAB official could not shed any light on the doctor they were supposedly visiting.

bdnews24.com called Haji Selim's mobile phone several times for comment but he did not respond. The Awami League MP's aide could not be reached either.

Haji Selim, the former joint secretary of Awami League's Dhaka metropolitan unit, is currently serving his third term as the MP from Dhaka-7.

Having switched allegiance from the BNP to the Awami League, Haji Selim was elected to parliament from the Old Dhaka constituency for the first time in 1996.

However, he lost the seat to BNP candidate Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu in the 2001 elections.

After the boundaries of the parliamentary constituency were redrawn, Mostafa Jalal Mohiuddin, the then secretary for health and population to the Awami League, won the seat from BNP's Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu in 2008.

But after failing to get the Awami League ticket in the 2014 election, which the BNP boycotted, Haji Selim ran as an independent candidate and pulled off a surprise as he beat Mohiuddin in the polls.

He retained the seat in 2018 after running with the Awami League's 'boat' symbol.

Haji Selim's company Madina Group has businesses in various sectors, including housing, cement, water tanks, pumps and shipping.

He is the company's managing director while his wife Gulshan Ara Selim is chairman. Their eldest son Mohammad Solaiman Selim is deputy managing director while their two other sons, including Erfan, and a daughter serve as directors of the company.

In the Dhaka city elections back in February, Erfan defeated the Awami League nominee for the post of councillor of ward No. 30 as a rebel candidate.

In his affidavit for the election, he wrote that he had a diploma in business administration as his educational qualification.

The 29-year-old also said he had Tk 3 million in cash and around Tk 50 million in shares and bonds in the affidavit.